Civilian Thomas Hennessy

Civilian Thomas Hennessy (aged about 49), formerly of Skeaf, Timoleague (Crosshaven)

Date of incident: 13 March 1921

Sources: CE, 15 March 1921; FJ, 15 March 1921; CCE, 19 March 1921; Kerryman, 19 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO35/151A/57 (TNA).


Note: A party of about twenty men dressed in mufti and belonging to the crown forces based at Queenstown arrived by motor launch and searched houses in the Crosshaven area. According to a report in the Cork Examiner, ‘During the searches the residence of Mrs [Kate] Sisk was visited, and while the armed party were there, two shots were heard. A few minutes later, some of the party brought Thomas Hennessy into the kitchen and laid him on the ground. One of them said they had ordered Hennessy to put up his hands, but Hennessy had not complied with the order and was fired upon. . . .’ He died shortly afterwards. Hennessy was a brother of the Bandon physician Dr Denis Hennessy and of the Kilmeen parish priest Fr Patrick Hennessy. A widower said in one report to have been 60 years old, the victim was an employee of Mrs Sisk and slept in a small cabin in her back garden. See CE, 15 March 1921. 

A subsequent military court of inquiry, however, placed his age at 47 or 48 and noted that this widower was an agricultural labourer with as many as eight children to support. See Military Inquests, WO35/151A/57 (TNA). Confirming this account was a report in the Cork County Eagle: ‘The late Mr Thomas Hennessy, formerly of Sheaf (Timoleague), who was shot at Crosshaven and died shortly afterwards, was not an aged man as described. He was a man in the prime of life, a widower with a young family. The late Mr Hennessy was a jovial, kind fellow and served through the late war in a Labour Corps. A man of considerable learning, he was well liked and esteemed by all with whom he came in contact. His death in such distressing circumstances is much regretted in his native district.’ See CCE, 19 March 1921. 

In 1911 Thomas Hennessy (then aged 39) of Skeaf in the Timoleague district still headed a large farming household along with his wife Hannah (aged 40). They had nine children, eight of whom (six daughters and two sons ranging in age from one month to 12 years) co-resided with them. Some tragedy, perhaps involving the premature death of Hannah Hennessy, may have befallen the family after 1911.    

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